Wales Women’s Rugby Team Offered Professional Contracts For The First Time

The Welsh Rugby Union have announced that they will offer professional contracts for up to 10 players beginning on January 1st 2022.

Wales Women’s Rugby Team Offered Professional Contracts For The First Time Wales Women’s Rugby Team Offered Professional Contracts For The First Time
Jessica Woodlock

The Welsh Rugby Union have announced that they will offer professional contracts for up to 10 players beginning on January 1st2022.

In addition, they will offer 15 retainer contracts, as well as match and training fees for the first time in the Welsh teams history.

The Welsh Rugby Union’s performance director, Nigel Walker, said it was a “first” and “major step in the right direction”.

“We are committed to making the women’s programme one of the best in the world and this announcement is a first but major step in the right direction” he said in a statement.

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Players will be expected to meet certain criteria and performance standards and will then be contracted on a 12 month basis.

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Wales captain, Siwan Lillicrap said that the significant move was thanks to the players and their calls for that professional status - “It’s a credit to the players for being brave and saying what we want for the future”.

In April this year, 123 former Wales players wrote a joint open letter to the WRU chief executive Steve Philips calling for the women’s game to be more developed in terms of pathways, regional teams and equal opportunities.

“We cannot stand by and watch the women’s game deteriorate any further” said the letter, which followed a two year losing streak from the team.

The announcement of contracts is a step forward for parity in the Union, with the option of retainer contracts meaning players can, if they wish, continue their working careers alongside playing elite rugby.

While the Welsh contracts aren’t believed to reach England’s £30,000 the move marks an initial step forward by the Welsh Rugby Union, who have also dedicated a budget of £2 million to their women’s team – the highest it has ever been.

Back in 2018 England became the first team in the world to make their women’s team fully professional, a move soon followed by Scotland and now, Wales.

The landmark moves puts increasing pressures on the Irish fifteens team, who now join Italy in being the only six nations teams to not offer professional contracts to their players.


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